High-Throughput Chemical Analysis

February 26, 2007

E-Separation Solutions

Yesterday, Andrew Tiplerwas going nowhere fast because of airport delays. Today, he was discussing how to accelerate your gas chromatography runs.

Yesterday, Andrew Tipler of PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences found himself going nowhere fast because of weather-related airplane delays. Today, he pointed out the irony of giving a presentation entitled “Technologies to Accelerate Analytical Throughput on a Gas Chromatograph”

Tipler stated, “I am going to write a companion piece to this paper entitled ‘How to Make Your Airline Faster.’”

Tipler’s presentation was included during the “High-Throughput Chemical Analysis” session on Monday afternoon at Pittcon 2007. Tipler discussed his “holistic approach” to increasing the speed of gas chromatography (GC) that included a model for a double-walled “fast oven” that would be able to rapid heat and cool and decrease the time of a GC cycle.

The oven featured a vented chamber that would expel the hot air and a DC motor to control the speed of cooling. By controlling the speed of the cooling, said Tipler, we can reduce column bleed that forms during rapid cooling and leads to “ghost peaks.” He showed examples of GC runs that were reduced to mere minutes.

Who said you can’t pat your head and rub your belly at the same time?

It certainly wasn’t Alan Lowe of ManSci Inc. whose solution for higher throughput is simple: automated parallel chromatography.

In his presentation “High Throughput Chiral Compound Analysis” discussed a customer’s problem with bind specificy of chiral drug candidates that require multiple trial and error chromatographic runs.

Lowe’s solution? Do all the runs at the same time.

He designed a system that performs four chromatographic runs at the same time. Each run would normally be approximately 20 minutes. By doing all four runs at once, Lowe has saved users about an hour.

If these solutions were not enough, Albert Robbart of Tufts University demonstrated how to collect and analyze samples from a hazardous waste clean-up site in real time to maximize the results.

Robbart developed a system that extracts gas samples through a pipe, analyzes the sample, and then uses deconvolution to identify targeted compounds. The traditional method would be to extract a sample and send it to a lab for analysis, which is time-comsuming and expensive. Robbart’s method creates a 3D model of the hazardous site in real-time and on-site!

The session included several other presentations on high throughput analysis that were both interesting and informative. Anne M. Warner of Eli Lilly and Company presided over the session.